Merry Summer Solstice!

Merry Summer Solstice!
El Sol

Thursday, June 30, 2011

For my brother, David, in his 45th year ~

Clearing a Space

A man should clear a space for himself,
Like Dublin city on a Sunday morning
about six o’clock.
Dublin and myself are rid of our traffic then
And I’m walking.

Houses are solitary and dignified,
Streets are adventures
Twisting in and out and up and down my mind.
The river is talking to itself
And doesn’t care if I eavesdrop.

No longer cluttered with purpose,
The city turns to the mountains
And takes time to listen to the sea.
I witness all three communing in silence
Under a relaxed sky.

Bridges look aloof and protective.
The gates of the park are closed
Green places must have their privacy too.
Office-blocks are empty, important and a bit
Pathetic, if they admitted it!

The small hills of this city are truly surprising
When they emerge in that early morning light.
Nobody has ever walked on them,
They are waiting for the first explorers
to straggle in from the needy north

And squat down here this minute
In weary legions
Between the cathedral and the river.
At the gates of conquest, they might enjoy a deep
Uninterrupted sleep.

To have been used so much, and without mercy
And still to be capable of rediscovering
In itself the old nakedness
Is what makes a friend of the city
When sleep has failed.

I make through that nakedness to stumble on my own,
Surprised to find a city is so like a man.
Statues and monuments check me out as I pass
Clearing a space for myself the best I can,
One Sunday morning, in the original sun, in Dublin.

Brendan Kennelly

And to rain, come to the desert...


The skin cracks like a pod.
There never is enough water.

Imagine the drip of it,
the small splash, echo
in a tin mug,
the voice of a kindly god.

Sometimes, the sudden rush
of fortune.  The municipal pipe bursts,
silver crashes to the ground

and the flow has found
a roar of tongues.  From the huts,
a congregation:  every man woman
child for streets around
butts in, with pots,
brass, copper, aluminum,
plastic buckets,
frantic hands,

and naked children
screaming in the liquid sun,
their highlights polished to perfection,
flashing light,
as the blessing sings
over their small bones.

Imtiaz Dharker

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Poems to celebrate summer solstice 2011~

For Once, Then, Something        

Others taunt me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths—and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.

Robert Frost


In Summer        

Oh, summer has clothed the earth
In a cloak from the loom of the sun!
And a mantle, too, of the skies' soft blue,
And a belt where the rivers run.

And now for the kiss of the wind,
And the touch of the air's soft hands,
With the rest from strife and the heat of life,
With the freedom of lakes and lands.

I envy the farmer's boy
Who sings as he follows the plow;
While the shining green of the young blades lean
To the breezes that cool his brow.

He sings to the dewy morn,
No thought of another's ear;
But the song he sings is a chant for kings
And the whole wide world to hear.

He sings of the joys of life,
Of the pleasures of work and rest,
From an o'erfull heart, without aim or art;
'T is a song of the merriest.

O ye who toil in the town,
And ye who moil in the mart,
Hear the artless song, and your faith made strong
Shall renew your joy of heart.

Oh, poor were the worth of the world
If never a song were heard,—
If the sting of grief had no relief,
And never a heart were stirred.

So, long as the streams run down,
And as long as the robins trill,
Let us taunt old Care with a merry air,
And sing in the face of ill.

Paul Laurence Dunbar


Summer Night, Riverside        

In the wild soft summer darkness
How many and many a night we two together
Sat in the park and watched the Hudson
Wearing her lights like golden spangles
Glinting on black satin.
The rail along the curving pathway
Was low in a happy place to let us cross,
And down the hill a tree that dripped with bloom
Sheltered us,
While your kisses and the flowers,
Falling, falling,
Tangled in my hair....

The frail white stars moved slowly over the sky.

And now, far off
In the fragrant darkness
The tree is tremulous again with bloom
For June comes back.

To-night what girl
Dreamily before her mirror shakes from her hair
This year's blossoms, clinging to its coils?

Sara Teasdale


In morning dew,


Friday, June 17, 2011

from Song of the Open Road


AFOOT and light-hearted, I take to the open road,   
Healthy, free, the world before me,   
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.   
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune—I myself am good fortune;   
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,            
Strong and content, I travel the open road.   
The earth—that is sufficient;   
I do not want the constellations any nearer;   
I know they are very well where they are;   
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.     
(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens;   
I carry them, men and women—I carry them with me wherever I go;   
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them;   
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.)   

You road I enter upon and look around! I believe you are not all that is here;     
I believe that much unseen is also here.   
Here the profound lesson of reception, neither preference or denial;   
The black with his woolly head, the felon, the diseas’d, the illiterate person, are not denied;   
The birth, the hasting after the physician, the beggar’s tramp, the drunkard’s stagger, the laughing party of mechanics,   
The escaped youth, the rich person’s carriage, the fop, the eloping couple,     
The early market-man, the hearse, the moving of furniture into the town, the return back from the town,   
They pass—I also pass—anything passes—none can be interdicted;   
None but are accepted—none but are dear to me.   


You air that serves me with breath to speak!   
You objects that call from diffusion my meanings, and give them shape!     
You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers!   
You paths worn in the irregular hollows by the roadsides!   
I think you are latent with unseen existences—you are so dear to me.   
You flagg’d walks of the cities! you strong curbs at the edges!   
You ferries! you planks and posts of wharves! you timber-lined sides! you distant ships!     
You rows of houses! you window-pierc’d fa├žades! you roofs!   
You porches and entrances! you copings and iron guards!   
You windows whose transparent shells might expose so much!   
You doors and ascending steps! you arches!   
You gray stones of interminable pavements! you trodden crossings!     
From all that has been near you, I believe you have imparted to yourselves, and now would impart the same secretly to me;   
From the living and the dead I think you have peopled your impassive surfaces, and the spirits thereof would be evident and amicable with me.   


The earth expanding right hand and left hand,   
The picture alive, every part in its best light,   
The music falling in where it is wanted, and stopping where it is not wanted,     
The cheerful voice of the public road—the gay fresh sentiment of the road.   
O highway I travel! O public road! do you say to me, Do not leave me?   
Do you say, Venture not? If you leave me, you are lost?   
Do you say, I am already prepared—I am well-beaten and undenied—adhere to me?   
O public road! I say back, I am not afraid to leave you—yet I love you;     
You express me better than I can express myself;   
You shall be more to me than my poem.   
I think heroic deeds were all conceiv’d in the open air, and all great poems also;   
I think I could stop here myself, and do miracles;   
(My judgments, thoughts, I henceforth try by the open air, the road;)     
I think whatever I shall meet on the road I shall like, and whoever beholds me shall like me;   
I think whoever I see must be happy.   


From this hour, freedom!   
From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,   
Going where I list, my own master, total and absolute,     
Listening to others, and considering well what they say,   
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,   
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.   
I inhale great draughts of space;   
The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.     
I am larger, better than I thought;   
I did not know I held so much goodness.   
All seems beautiful to me;   
I can repeat over to men and women, You have done such good to me, I would do the same to you.   
I will recruit for myself and you as I go;     
I will scatter myself among men and women as I go;   
I will toss the new gladness and roughness among them;   
Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me;   
Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and shall bless me.   

Now if a thousand perfect men were to appear, it would not amaze me;     
Now if a thousand beautiful forms of women appear’d, it would not astonish me.   
Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons,   
It is to grow in the open air, and to eat and sleep with the earth.   
Here a great personal deed has room;   
A great deed seizes upon the hearts of the whole race of men,     
Its effusion of strength and will overwhelms law, and mocks all authority and all argument against it.   
Here is the test of wisdom;   
Wisdom is not finally tested in schools;   
Wisdom cannot be pass’d from one having it, to another not having it;   
Wisdom is of the Soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof,     
Applies to all stages and objects and qualities, and is content,   
Is the certainty of the reality and immortality of things, and the excellence of things;   
Something there is in the float of the sight of things that provokes it out of the Soul...

Walt Whitman

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Short History of the Apple

The crunch is the thing, a certain joy in crashing through
living tissue, a memory of Neanderthal days.

    —Edward Bunyard, The Anatomy of Dessert, 1929

Teeth at the skin. Anticipation.
Then flesh. Grain on the tongue.
Eve's knees ground in the dirt
of paradise. Newton watching
gravity happen. The history
of apples in each starry core,
every papery chamber's bright
bitter seed. Woody stem
an infant tree. William Tell
and his lucky arrow. Orchards
of the Fertile Crescent. Bushels.
Fire blight. Scab and powdery mildew.
Cedar apple rust. The apple endures.
Born of the wild rose, of crab ancestors.
The first pip raised in Kazakhstan.
Snow White with poison on her lips.
The buried blades of Halloween.
Budding and grafting. John Chapman
in his tin pot hat. Oh Westward
Expansion. Apple pie. American
as. Hard cider. Winter banana.
Melt-in-the-mouth made sweet
by hives of Britain's honeybees:
white man's flies. O eat. O eat.

Dorianne Laux

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More Than Enough

The first lily of June opens its red mouth.
All over the sand road where we walk
multiflora rose climbs trees cascading
white or pink blossoms, simple, intense
the scene drifting like colored mist.

The arrowhead is spreading its creamy
clumps of flower and the blackberries
are blooming in the thickets. Season of
joy for the bee. The green will never
again be so green, so purely and lushly

new, grass lifting its wheaty seedheads
into the wind. Rich fresh wine
of June, we stagger into you smeared
with pollen, overcome as the turtle
laying her eggs in roadside sand.

Marge Piercy